ATLANTA — Fourteen bags of cocaine were found in a woman's possession when she arrived at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport this weekend, authorities say.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection says Laura Guizado, traveling from Lima, Peru Sunday, was chosen for a secondary security examination. During the inspection, officers found a white powdery substance hidden in purses, jackets and llama skins.
Agents tested the substance and it tested positive for cocaine.
The total weight of the cocaine was 14.4 pounds and it had a street value of about $450,000, CPB said.
"This cocaine seizure is an excellent example of the persistence displayed by our Customs and Border Protection Officers and Agriculture Specialist to detect unique concealment methods, and to intercept dangerous drugs at our nation's ports of entry, " said Devin Chamberlain, CBP's acting port director for the Port of Atlanta. "Narcotics interdiction remains a priority CBP enforcement mission, one that we take very seriously."
Guizado is in the Clayton County jail facing two felony charges.
Even when federal agents make the arrests, federal prosecutors only take on a fraction of the drug smuggling cases that come out of Hartsfield-Jackson.
Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham says the growing number of felony drug cases coming out of the airport is stretching her resources thin.
“If it picks up another 20 to 25 percent, I’m going to have to have more staff,” she said.
Lawson says her office averages 15 new drug cases, plus 20 new forfeiture cases each month from the airport.
“I think the U.S. attorney’s office has complete confidence in my office to obtain convictions in these types of cases, and I think perhaps that’s why they’re just letting us handle it,” she said.
Lawson says her office will continue to work to keep up with the growing number of drug smuggling cases.
“We make sure that we keep those bad people and bad things off our streets, and if that means taking them to one prosecutor or another, whatever works,” she said.
Cox Media Group